For a while, I have been vaguely resentful of a friend of mine. The situation is relevant only in that they are a person with depression who has successfully completed a higher degree recently. This person said something in livejournal - a throwaway comment, in effect - a while ago that made me feel jealous of them - jealous that they were able to finish their degree, etc. My resentment has been bubbling under for a while, but I didn't know how to say anything about it. We haven't been in the same place in person for months, livejournal comments are open for the world to see, and email feels too personal - too intrusive a place for me to say "by the way, ouch".
So tonight I had a conversation with that person, and I learned a great number of things I didn't know previously about bad things which are happening in their life. And I got round to telling them about this feeling I'd been having, and gradually realised how irrational I was being. And I want to thwack myself upside the head for having not managed to learn the lesson before.
The point is that one cannot compare the pain of two different people.
there is no way to say who's is worse
and I have known this for a very long time
and yet I still try to compare mine to other people's.
and the conversation I have just had with you sums that up even the more
for me to be jealous of you is ridiculous, because i only know half of what you're going through.
I have said "ouch" to at least three things you've said tonight,
along with "yikes" to another two or three...
what is the formula for pain addition?
It's crazy. You just can't compare.
So that was a useful lesson for me. And I'm sorry, Other Person - I'm sorry that I've been carrying around this resentment for so long without telling you or trying to work through it, and I'm sorry that by telling you tonight I upset you, and I'm sorry for trying to make a value judgement about something that can't be judged.